Wednesday 25 June 2014

When one thing breaks down, everything does!

The freezer broke down yesterday, so today's 
job is cooking up everything that defrosted. 
This is has come hot on the heels of the dishwasher and dryer breaking down and our microwave, washing machine and vacuum cleaner all making funny noises. It seems to happen in a 7 years cycle and always when money is a little tight.

"One thing is sure. We have to do something. We have to do the best we know how at the moment... If it doesn't turn out right, we can modify it as we go along." 

-- Franklin D. Roosevelt 

So last night everything that could fit in the other freezer and that could be re frozen went into the big freezer.  We are washing dishes by hand and drying clothes in racks, lines, in front of the fire and in the hot water cupboard. Today I'm making soup, shredded chicken, steak and kidney pie,  and casserole. 

"Like a welcome summer rain, humour may suddenly cleanse and cool the earth, the air and you." 

-- Langston Hughes 

As I was contemplating yet another challenge this week my sense of humour peeked through.  I thought about the Disney film 'Frozen' and the song 'Let it go'   and thought how apt that today........ Sigh!  

Even with the best hopes in the world we just can't change some thing in life.  All we can do is 'Let it go'  and move on. My plan today was to carry on painting a fabulous new art work called 'In his image' but that ain't happening today.  

I will only get to look at my sketch :)

Thursday 19 June 2014

New art work series: The family

I am starting a new series of work entitled 
'The family'  this work is a celebration of all those wonderful small details and everyday happenings of family life that I hold close to my heart.  I have had this series in mind for a long time now but I was being sabotaged by so many unfinished projects sitting in my studio, I just couldn't get going on this idea. I have spent over a month working on and completing art work that still had meaning to me.

And I have finished all of them.  It feels so good to be able to finish the old and start afresh with the new.  There is something liberating about starting with a clean slate and pressing forward with new experiences, ideas and new pathways.  Many pieces of my work have been waiting to be finished for over 3 years.  I hadn't realised how much this work was preventing me from moving on to new work.  I thought if I just made another quilt  it would help me find my 'mojo' again but it just wasn't working.  

Then one day I had a light bulb moment.  
I can't work in my studio if my house is chaotic,  
I can't sit down if my house in chaotic 
and I finally realised I couldn't move on with my 
art work until I had sorted out the chaos of 
unfinished work that was building up.

I have got my 'mojo' back.  I now have that motivation I have been seeking for so long.  Who knew it would be such a simple answer just staring at me in my face.

In my new work I want to capture the essence of family life.  

To capture the joy of children,

To capture exhilarating moments

Moments of desicion

Times of exploration

Goofy times

 Special Relationships (yes I'm a twin!)

Capture times when family gets together

And those moments only shared between and parent and a child.

Wednesday 18 June 2014

New art work completed

After hours of painting, stitching and colouring 
'I'm watching you" is finished

This piece was started at Hollis Chatelain's  dye workshop in Auckland, NZ last year. The work was based on a painting created on an old board book with acrylic paints.

A leaf stencil was used to create the eyes.  The background is printed with a few different stencils in different 
tones of pink and red.

'I'm watching you'  was created on fabric using thickened dyes painted and printed onto the fabric.  

'I'm Watching you'  explores the idea of hiding in a space where a person can see out but not everyone can see that person clearly. 

It is about partial protection from other people and others opinions.

Being guarded without giving too much of the person within away to any one else.

Observing without being seen, taking in all that is around to see and hear.

Being careful to give only what is truly necessary. 

'I'm watching you'
28 cm x 52 cm

Thursday 12 June 2014

Creating sketchbook time for artists

Finding time to create can be hard.  Our lives pull us in so many directions.  There are so many ways we can use our time and our energy.  We need to make concious choices on how we use our time.  As an artist there are many things that need to be done. It is very important that we plan and use our time constructively and creatively.  

“It was amazing what an hour with her sketchpad could do for 

her mood. She was sure that the lines she drew with her black 

marker were going to save her years of worry lines in the 


Making time for drawing is crucial in pathway as a artist.  Drawing every day creates new ideas to pursue,  new skills and new techniques.  This can be all done with a simple page of work which requires small investment of time and of materials. 

Using a sketchbook opens our creative juices and gets us ready for other work.  A regular sketchbook practice develops ideas into mature work and into series.

There are many ways to open up time to sketch. But the first thing to do is give yourself permission to sketch.  This is really important.  We are often our biggest reason we don't get something done. 

Ways to create in a sketchbook each day
  • Create a space to create.  This could a be a portable pencil case and bag or something more permanent like a desk.  I have both. A pencil case that goes with me everywhere and a desk when I am at home
  • Limit the equipment you carry around.  Less is better for the creative juices.  I carry a few pens and my water colour paint.  This gets rid of the need to make a decision on what medium you are using.  You can just start drawing
  • Create space in your time.  I sketch in wee bits of time. While waiting for sports practice, music lessons and while in waiting rooms.  I also schedule 15-30 minutes a day just for sketching.  The sketchbook pages I have posted today were all done in 30 mins or less.  
  • Do it.  This sounds like the most simple step but it is the hardest. There will be lost of people and other things that will want to sabotage your efforts.  Unless someone is bleeding or at deaths door I sketch every day.  Sometimes it is the only time I get to make art in a day
  • Use a timer.  Set your time and stick to it.
  • Don't try and finish a page everyday.  Just work until the timer goes off and pick it up again later or tomorrow.  
  • You don't have to show any one your work.  It is your journal you can keep it as private as you like. 
  • Celebrate your work and enjoy the process.  It is not about being perfect it is about the process and practice.  
  • Draw what you want to draw.  It doesn't matter what you draw just as long as you draw.
  • We all have to start somewhere the important thing is starting 

“I keep drawing the trees, the rocks, the river, I'm still 

learning how to see them; I'm still discovering how to render 

forms. I will spend a lifetime doing that. Maybe someday I'll

 get it right.” 

― Alan Lee

Tuesday 10 June 2014

Art quilting UFO's completed.

I have finished 30 UFO's 
(unfinished objects)  in my studio!! 

It has taken a lot of work and so much will power. 

I love starting new projects.  
Going back to old ones are so difficult for me, but I have done it!!! A lot of them were just needing simple things done to them like mounting, binding,  a little more colour adding to them and a hanging sleeve putting on them.  All simple jobs that wouldn't have taken much time at all if I had just done them before starting another project.  I'm hoping I have learnt a good lesson about procrastinating the small stuff. (well I can live in hope :) )

Here is a sneaky peak at what I have been doing. 

 I will be loading all of them individually onto my new website which is coming soon.  All art work will be for sale

I have got 5 pieces of work to finish and then I can start with a clean slate and focus on 2 new series I am planning.  

It is so exciting to have my work come together.  I feel motivated to tackle new ideas and pathways.

What makes you excited?  What helps you to move onto new ideas?
What helps you to move onto new ideas and pathways? 

Sunday 8 June 2014

An oldy but a goodie: Things to use to print with

I posted this blog a couple of years ago.  It has been a really popular post so I thought I would re post it today. Mybe you would like to add some more ideas of cheap printing tools in the comments.

Many people spend a lot of money on printing plates and fancy tools for surface design on fabric and to make sketchbook pages.  I don't...I use objects found at home or make my own stamps out of erasers and stencils out of card lying around.  It gives me a lot of satisfaction to produce my own designs and it certainly saves the wallet.

Try these objects

Cookie cutters printed into wet paint or dab on paint to use as a stamp.

Use cookie cutters that can be used for multi purposes ie.  hearts can be made into flowers, hearts (obviously) and new shape configurations

Tops of plastic containers

Make simple stencils from card 

Sequin waste and metal mesh make great objects to stencil though

End of cotton reels for stamping.

Use lids for different size circles

Corks make great stamps.

Objects found at a emporium.  10 for $1.00 NZ!

Make a roller stamp.  String makes a wonderful texture.

Home made stamps form erasers

Simple and cheap commercial stamps.  Buy stamps that are multi purpose

The end of kitchen objects

The end of straws make great tiny circles.  (try spaghetti pasta for even smaller circles!)

Have fun and play and experiment
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